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New Police Uniforms?

The Public Safety Commission takes a look at the choices. Headgear comes up as a point of contention

New uniforms are on the horizon for the Montville Police Department, after a policy is written to determine when and how they should be worn.

The policy, which the Public Safety Commission decided on Monday should be written, will focus on the new Class C uniforms. Currently, there is not a Class C uniform, just the dress uniform (class A) and the regular patrol uniform (class B).

The two uniforms in the running are more paratrooper-style than the current outfits. The pants are like cargo pants, with pockets on the side of the leg, in addition to at the waist. There are buttoned chest pockets on the shirt, as well.

The uniform the union prefers, according to Officer Mike Manley, who spoke at the Public Safety Commission meeting, has vents under the arms and is waterproof. It is manufactured by a company called Elbeco and was modeled Monday by Officer Travis Sumpf.

Manley said that an internal police committee preferred the other uniform, modeled Monday by Officer Matthew Orr, and manufactured by a company called Blauer. Manley said the union would be happy with either uniform.

The cost of the uniforms, two for all officers except Lt. Leonard Bunnell, is $5,412, said Manley. That price includes all embroidery and patches. The money is in the budget already, he said.

A nylon gear belt, like the one Orr was wearing, is another item the department wants. It is much lighter than the leather belt, and much more flexible. The cost of these belts for the department, including Bunnell, would be $6,621 and if approved, would be phased in over two years.

Both uniforms have the officer’s name, the Montville Police patch and the officer’s badge embroidered on the chest. With these uniforms, officers would not wear the metal badge, a fact that they said they liked. The officers said that the badge itself can cause problems, if a suspect grabs it or grabs for it.

A point of consternation in the discussion was headgear. Orr wore a baseball cap with an identifying patch on the front. Commission Chairman David Jetmore and others said that in a moment of stress, in a nighttime pursuit for instance, the baseball-style cap could cause identification issues.

Bunnell agreed.

“It’s tough for me to change my mind on what has been,” he said. “We do need some way to recognize instantly in that moment of decision.”

Bunnell said that while he was in favor of adding this new class of uniform, “I’ve clear I am not going to recommend totally this uniform. I want to see the eight-point hat with the C and with the B.”

Manley and commission member Russ Wehner said that across the country, officers are wearing baseball-style caps with patrol uniforms.

Resident State Trooper Sgt. Troy Gelinas said that the question is whether the officers will wear the cap.

“The hat’s not going to do you any good sitting in the car,” he said.  “It’s a practical uniform, and what it comes down to is practicality. I hate to see you spend money on a hat that sits in the car.”

A representative of the department, with input from Mayor Ron McDaniel, will write a policy governing Class C uniforms, and return to the commission next month.

Lester March 27, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Fred FYI these new class C uniforms will be used for everyday patrol.
richard gladue March 27, 2012 at 06:18 PM
They look a little plain not as sharp as i would expect for a police officer.
montvillejive March 27, 2012 at 06:27 PM
where is the money in the budget for these uniforms?
Keith Faulkner March 27, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I have always liked the Montville police uniforms. Even when I was young and stupid running away from them. What we don't need is another PD looking like military storm troopers. I have taken a small amout of pride in seeing Montville bucking that trend. I say keep the ones we have. There sharp and very official looking uniforms.
theinformant March 27, 2012 at 07:19 PM
With the Town looking at a 4 to 5 Mill increase and the Board of Ed. asking for a 1 million dollar increase in their Budget, why does the Police want new Uniforms now? Doesn't the Mayor or anyone on the Council know were in a crises? Why arn't they speaking up? If the Town isn't looking at laying anyone off, then no one should be looking at purchasing anything outside the Budget, especially not till after the 1.3 million owed by AES is received in this years Budget. My opinion only. Police should renew there clothing every other year. This is just the wrong time.

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